Blog Article

New Illinois Speaks Micro-Grants: Deadline January 15, 2018

Community groups, churches, schools, public libraries and other nonprofits can apply to host public conversations through our Illinois Speaks micro-grants program. Recent grantee partners have included:

  • Art Works Projects, which hosted community dialogues in public libraries on the ways that neighborhoods can welcome immigrants and refugees, in partnership with groups like the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, the Syrian Community Network and Axis Lab. Their dialogues enhanced the photo exhibit Sanctuary/Sustenance: The Story of Many Journeys.
  • The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, which hosted an Indigenous Peoples exhibit brainstorming session. The dialogue explored inclusion and balance in upcoming exhibits. One takeaway was hearing how much audience value the connection to contemporary Native issues in the museum’s exhibits.

With this July 15 deadline, and in addition to the regular Illinois Speaks micro-grants, we are launching a new initiative in partnership with the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, a special grant opportunity for public libraries across Illinois.

Through this micro-grant, public libraries can now apply to access a selection of the great author interviews that Studs Terkel conducted in order to host events where the community can listen to and discuss them. Illinois Speaks micro-grant funds support basic expenses for these events, including beverages, promotions and/or a discussion moderator.

To date, five of Studs’ interviews have been curated for use by Illinois public libraries: Maya Angelou (1970, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”), Roddy Doyle (1994, “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha”), Nora Ephron (1975, “Crazy Salad”), Mike Royko (1971, “Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago”) and Oliver Sacks (1995, “An Anthropologist on Mars”). More will be made available later this year.

Once awarded the micro-grant, libraries organize a public dialogue focused on listening to and discussing one of the five interviews. Applicants should indicate which available Studs interview they would like to use for their event.

In addition to the micro-grant of $250.00 and access to the author interview, libraries will receive event support materials that provide context and suggestions for framing a discussion on the interview you chose, as well as participation materials for event attendees.

To learn more about Illinois Speaks, go to and scroll down.

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to Mark Hallett at or call 312.374.1555.